Japan remains committed to Marawi rehab

MANILA With Japan's donation of 27 heavy machineries to the Philippine government, the Japanese Embassy to the Philippines is confident that the strategic partnership between the two states is more evident at present.

In a statement during the ceremonial handover in Marawi City on Thursday, Japan Ambassador to Manila Koji Haneda said Japan remains as the country's "special friend" throughout the entire endeavor of Marawi reconstruction.

Haneda turned over seven Komatsu excavators, three bulldozers, three wheel loaders, two motor graders, and 12 dump trucks, all provided through Japan's grant to the Philippine government.

The provision of these heavy machineries, based on the exchange of notes that was signed during the two governments' summit meeting in November 2017, is expected to ease the Philippines' efforts in rehabilitating and rebuilding Marawi and its surrounding areas.

To signify Japan's continuing support, Haneda led the exchange of notes with Christopher Rollo, country program manager of UN-Habitat Philippines, for Japan's commitment of an additional PHP500-million grant for the war-ravaged city, supporting UN's program to provide shelter and livelihood for the local community.

Haneda reiterated that President Rodrigo R. Duterte had already affirmed Japan and the Philippines' relations as special friends closer than brothers.

To this end, "Japan will remain so" until Marawi and its surrounding area are revived, Haneda added.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who was present at the event, expressed his gratitude to Japan's assistance and emphasized that Marawi will rise again.

For his part, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) chief Mark Villar thanked the people of Japan for extending their warm assistance and assured the heavy machineries will be used well and efficiently for the welfare of the people of Marawi and Lanao del Sur.

Joining Haneda, Medialdea and Villar were Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Assistant Sectetary Felix Castro, Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr., Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, DPWH Region 10 Director Virgilio Eduarte, DPWH Project Director Madsmo Hasim and DPWH Bureau of Equipment Director Noel Ilao.

In a joint statement issued last October during a meeting between President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe, the latter had initially stressed Japan's recognition that rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi "is extremely important" to the Philippines, securing their willingness to extend "utmost support" towards the initiative.

The ceremonial handover and the signing of the exchange of notes for Marawi rehabilitation is an embodiment of the joint statement, the embassy said.

Source: Philippine News Agency